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sisterhood in five rings

Gold and silver and bronze are not colors on this flag, but the middle bar comes close to gold.
The five rings, of course, are in Beijing, along with some 300 medals.

NBC is doing time-delay programming, among tonight's events were the women's gymnastics qualifying rounds.

After a totally awesome performance on the uneven bars, Liukin lost her balance on her dismount and fell over on the mat, flat onto her back. If you have to fall anytime in that routine, that's when to do it. Nothing breaks or sprains. But you feel like instant merde.

We are going on to the finals anyway, second behind China.

The six teenage teammates went into a close ring, hugging tightly together, and were laughing and crying and completely supportive of one another, right down to fixing another's hair, brushing another's head. Wonderful words of encouragement. Big eyes, big excitement, big big tenderness and affection.

The compassion and love --- and competitiveness, as a nation --- jumped right through the camera and out of the screen.

That sixth circle is worth piles of the other five and any metals on medals you can put together.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 11th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
I know! I saw that!

And in spite of the fall, she got a totally awesome score. I'm totally excited for the women's team, but I'm concerned for those Chinese girls. I suspect some of them are a lot younger than they say they are, and I'm wondering if they can handle the pressure.

It will be interesting to see who wins. My favorite for the vault and balance beam is the U.S, (did you see them? Barely even a wobble!) and I think China will totally dominate the floor exercise. However, China has a record of making fatal mistakes in world competitions, but we'll see. If the Americans stay consistent, they'll make it hard for the Chinese to win the gold, though China has the advantage.
Aug. 11th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
Of course ability to handle the pressure doesn't automatically increase with age --- but I see your point.

I just love the floor exercise because there is variation in the music and the movements, pushing the artists as far as they can go. On the E coast reruns were in the middle of the night and I caught some of them: the balance beam work is amazing when you think that it only takes milliseconds, at that speed, to lose your balance and lose a medal. Apparently it's the ability to clearly *feel* where the beam surface is, while you're in the air going backwards and upside down, so your body knows what the distance precisely is. You can't think much about it consciously at all, there's no time....

And I just love the sisterhood, the we-are-all-in-this-together feeling, and that each person is vital to the circle.
There's a lot of that in theatre, too, and when it happens I usually tear up a bit :)

I wonder what kind of age-checking goes on with everyone at the Olympic level .... if you're a girl who's been in intensive gymnastic training since age 3, once you get to 12 your body is not going to look like anyone else's who's not been! Chinese birth certificates? Yeah, right ....

So it might very well show up under pressure. The emotional age of a 14-year-old who looks like she's 19 is still going to be 14, right?

But the artistry at speed is totally thrilling.
Aug. 11th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
ability to handle the pressure doesn't automatically increase with age

I disagree. Ability to handle pressure increases with maturity and experience.

And with the Chinese, there's this mentality of, "if you don't win a gold, you dishonour your country and your family and you should be ashamed for life." Also, if it's not a gold medal and you get a silver or bronze, it's still considered a failure for them. Number 2 is just as shameful as number 4 or 5.

Also, I love how Marta coached the girls so lovingly. I doubt that the Chinese coaches were as supportive.

I do know there was some controversy regarding the age of two Chinese gymnasts that were too young to compete. I'm not exactly sure how or if it was resolved.

I can't wait to see how it plays out. The one American was the strongest and steadiest I've ever seen on the beam. With a lot of the people on the beam, I'm always nervous for them, but with her I was completely comfortable watching her.

I like watchng the rhythmic gymnastics too. And my god, did you see that men's swimming relay race? AMAZING!
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 11th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
Eeeep there's always a first time! Hope nobody argues with mine...
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 11th, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
If the other side isn't armed, maybe. And everybody is going to be!

Except meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee *hides*
Aug. 11th, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC)
I guess my operative word was 'automatically'. Yes, and Bela was really in top form in the studio afterwards, for his interview.

It's Shawn Johnson you're referring to, I think.

And the men's relay makes my point: seven-hundredths of one second faster than the French! And the Aussies only beat Katie Hoff by about as much. Her Mom looked so sad ....

And the first time I ever saw Rhythmic Gymnastics, I was spellbound at how sculptured and flexible the bodies of the artists were. They are just as supple as their ribbons and they really look like they're made out of air. Haven't seen it this year, though .... will probably be traveling or sleeping when it comes on, but I'm watching for them!

Do you stay up all night too?
Aug. 13th, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
And all that incredible underwater photography. In slow-motion, too.

It now looks like there is going to be some kind of IOC official ID card verifying your age. Everybody has to get one. For the next Games. Uncounterfeitable.

Yeah, surrrrrrrrre ;)
Aug. 13th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC)
I don't want these Olympics to end! Spectacular.
Aug. 13th, 2008 11:12 am (UTC)
Yeah I watched the synchronized diving finals [women] on my way to Seattle, at 39,000 feet. The wonders of microwave satellite transmissions.

And the freeze-frame, and the multiple single-frame superimposed images --- two divers in one frame, six times --- much more than the judges saw!!

I still don't know how camera crews can go into the showers with these divers with a straight face. By now the girls have gotten used to NBC and CNN and ESPN being everywhere, but still .... ????

The jacuzzi looks like a lot more fun, though =)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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